Ohio State needed all but one minute of regulation in a come-from-behind win over Penn State last week in Columbus. With Ohio State heading to Iowa the following week, it was natural to wonder if the Buckeyes would be in line for a letdown.
Urban Meyer spent the week assuring fans this wouldn't happen to his team while constantly praising their maturity. He said if he got wind of his players taking Iowa lightly, it would be like "an atomic bomb" going off in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Apparently something got lost in translation to his team, which never got off the bus in Iowa City as the Buckeyes went down 7-0 in the first 15 seconds of regulation for the second week in a row.
While the Buckeyes looked like the better team—when not shooting themselves in the foot with an assault rife—against Penn State, the same could not be said in its 55-24 loss to Iowa. It was the kind of beating Ohio State has grown accustoming to doling out to Big Ten foes in the regular season.
The Hawkeyes dominated all three phases of the game. And while this team did defeat Iowa State in Week 1, it lost two weeks ago to Northwestern. It scored 34 points, combined, in the past two weeks.
Maybe this is the new Iowa. Maybe they'll go on to prove it's the class of the Big Ten.
But it's much more likely Urban Meyer laid an egg unseen since 2014 against Virginia Tech, a team that went on to lose six games. Now, a roster stuffed with two- and three-star recruits just derailed his championship hopes.
There will be plenty of blame to go around. J.T. Barrett hadn't been stymied like that since Oklahoma—coincidentally the same game tight ends and fullbacks abused Ohio State linebackers and secondary.
Three championship trophies, however, shouldn't save Meyer from criticism for this performance, as he's the one making $6.4 million this season. He said before the game there would be no surprises from Iowa, and there weren't, outside of a fake field goal that all but officially ended the contest.
That's on coaching. But hey, at least kickoff coverage looked better this week.